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Woman with beautiful red manicured nails displaying her bare feet with her hands on her ankles with a fresh red Gerbera daisy in a beauty and fashion concept

Pedicurists have had a bad rap lately. They have been accused of not sterilizing their instruments properly, leading to infections in their clients’ feet. When I heard about these pedicure-related infections, I contacted a local pedicure school. I quickly found—to my relief—that sterilizing instruments was not a problem. However, in talking with the teachers and students I realized that these professionals were on the front lines of looking at feet and were the ideal people to spot foot problems or cancer in the foot early.

Now, I lecture regularly to pedicurists on common foot problems to watch for, including certain kinds of cancer that may show up in the foot first.

For some people, their pedicurist looks at their feet more than anyone else–including themselves. In fact, some people have difficulty seeing between their toes or under their feet and the person best suited to check all these areas, is their pedicurist.

Checking your feet regularly for any suspicious moles, masses or other lesions is very important. A mole may be nothing to worry about or could be melanoma, a type of cancer.

Melanoma usually begins as a tiny lesion, mole, or freckle. When melanoma is situated on the foot it is generally not caught until it is too late, often resulting in the loss of the foot or leg, and even death. Each year more than 8,000 people die from melanoma—nearly one death every hour.

Fortunately, when caught early, most people with melanoma survive. Melanoma does not discriminate. It occurs in the young and old, in African-Americans and in Caucasians, and in males and females. Though, Caucasians or fairer-skinned people are at higher risk.

Make sure to always have any suspicious masses, lesions, swelling, or painful sensations thoroughly checked by a trusted podiatrist.

Diabetics should watch their feet for any pain, sores, infections, abnormal sensation, or color changes. The smallest sore, blister, or infection can quickly accelerate to a severe problem or gangrene, and quickly lead to the need for amputation of a toe, the foot, or even the leg. Studies show that one in five diabetics will endure an amputation. Sadly, most of these amputations are preventable, if caught early. As a general rule, diabetics should have any foot or ankle problem checked by a podiatrist.

Recently, I was interviewed about my efforts to enlist pedicurists in spotting serious foot problems early. Read the whole story by CLICKING HERE.

Lastly, the next time you choose a pedicurist, you may want to find someone who a basic knowledge of foot problems. It could just save your life.

ImageWoman with beautiful red manicured nails Photos by Pond5

  • Lazarus

    It’s funny – every since I’ve started running regularly, I’ve been paying much more attention to my feet.

    But I had never once thought of being on the watch for the various warning signs you mention above.

    So thanks for writing this post.